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Bajrang Dal protests Padma Shri for Staines

Bajrang Dal activists shouted slogans and burnt an effigy of Gladys Staines in Anandpur town of Orissa's Keonjhar district.
PTI | By Indo-Asian News Service, Bhubhaneswar
UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2005 02:53 PM IST

Members of the Hindu group on Friday demanded that the central government withdraw the Padma Shri announced for Australian social worker Gladys Staines.

Bajrang Dal activists shouted slogans and burnt an effigy of Gladys Staines in Anandpur town of Orissa's Keonjhar district, said the Bajrang Dal's state chief Subash Chouhan.

Gladys Staines is the widow of Australian missionary Graham Stuart Staines, who was murdered by fanatics in Manoharpur village of Keonjhar district in January 1999. She is being awarded the Padma Shri for her work with leprosy patients.

Gladys Staines is based in Queensland, Australia, from where she runs a home for leprosy patients in Baripada town of Orissa.

The Bajrang Dal, however, alleged Gladys Staines was being given the award because "her husband died while converting people to Christianity".

"There are many other deserving people," Chouhan said, warning of more protests.

Graham Staines and his two sons were allegedly burnt alive by a group, led by Bajrang Dal activist Dara Singh, while they were asleep in a jeep in Manoharpur village.

A court has sentenced Singh to death and punished 12 others with life imprisonment.

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